• Keith Banner

This Monkey's Gone to Heaven

The next 3 pieces in This Is True Love are ones I published in James White Review in the late 90s, a couple short stories and a short essay:

"Barry in the Scorched Grass" from The James White Review, Spring 1996

"Lily of the Valley" from The James White Review, Winter 1997

"With Gary on a Wednesday Night in Late August" from The James White Review, Fall 1998

"With Gary" is the essay, and it's an amalgamation of impressions about a guy I met through my friend Kim, a hairstylist named Gary who had AIDS and whose glamour and danger and kindness freaked me out at the time. Being gay is both something you know you are and something other people are, and a lot of the time those 2 formations do not correlate. Gary was my opposite in temperament and style, in the way he was able to be so honest and confrontational and real and outright elegant. I was kind of in awe. I always think of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard when I think of him.

Both the short stories investigate notions of "gayness," and how you have to unravel what it is until it becomes what you need it to be. In "Barry," the main character loses his shit; in "Lily," the main character finds true love. But in both instances, and even in the essay too, there's not an alignment with what things are supposed to be.

What I write always kind of lands on another planet where desire isn't really spoken about as much as released from itself.

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